Throughout the nineteen sixties, seventies and eighties, most issues of Archie Comics featured a two-page spread titled Archie Club News. The banner at the top of the page announced, "ARCHIE CLUB MEMBERS send in your news reports and be eligible to win cash prizes in the Archie Series Magazines." The results of this venture were generally irrelevant notes sent in like "Dear Archie, Let me tell you the day I got a tape worm..." Often what was sent in appeared to be part of a class project. Elementary school children were in the process of learning how to write letters and encouraged by a teacher to send something Riverdale way. Sometimes the letters were weird or even profound and other times prophetic or just silly.
This letter originally appeared in The New Archies #14 May 1989:
My report is on computers ... In the future, computers will become an even more important part of our lives than they are today. Computers will also be different and more powerful. While some people say that computers will never replace humans because computers can't think, that's not necessarily true. Scientists are already experimenting with computers that can actually think for themselves! Who knows, maybe when you grow up, computers will have the right to vote!
I think Stephen accurately predicts the problems we'd experience eleven years later with computerized voting machines. Although computers do not legally possess the right to vote, they are more than willing to change a vote for a democrat to that of a republican. Good call Stephen. By the way, I'm fairly certain that this Stephen Perkins is not the drummer from Jane's Addiction.
If you've read the other letters in our Archie Club News series you may also notice a difference here. Archie Comics decided by the late eighties to no longer print the child's full street address. Previously the full name, city, street address and zip code were provided for all to read. Initially, the concept behind giving out a letter writer's address was to encourage the worldwide Archie Comics pen pal program. By signing up to be a card carrying member of the exclusive Archie Club you also allowed yourself to be put on the roster of lonely children desperate to find somebody else who read Archie comics. Did it instead encourage molesters to lure kids with promises of free Archie Comics instead of candy? Probably not, but one imagines that was the reasoning behind the change.